What a month it’s been! Congratulations to our Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards winners and shortlisted authors: Fiona Burrows, Amanda Curtin, Rafeif Ismail, Kathryn Lefroy, Caitlin Maling, Meg McKinlay, Helen Milroy, Holden Sheppard and Ellen van Neerven. We are so proud of you all.
I met a bloke last week who said his father died 20 years ago and he had never got over it. My father died in 2002 and I can still hear him telling me how to remove the ceiling fan in the bathroom. I’d done it a couple of times before and I was over 50 years old, but that didn’t make any difference. As far as he was concerned I was still ‘bloody hopeless’.
We were lucky to chat with dystopian aficionado Brendan Ritchie about his chapter in the newly released book Beyond the Dark: Dystopian Texts in the Secondary English Classroom (edited by Patricia Dowsett, Ellen Rees and Alex Wharton, and published by the Australian Association for the Teaching of English). Brendan is well positioned to discuss dystopian fiction, with his Gold Inky Award longlisted debut novel, Carousel, exploring a dystopian Perth. The sequel, Beyond Carousel, continues to explore a post-apocalyptic world while raising pertinent questions about our own reality.
Father of the Lost Boys author and former child soldier Yuot A. Alaak says lived experiences have a lot to teach us. He says giving students the opportunity to enter the lives of refugee children in a war, but from a safe distance, can help build empathy and understanding. In this very special blog post, Yuot and is joined by his father, Mecak A. Alaak, an inspirational teacher working in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
A.J. Betts had the idea for Hive eight years before she commenced writing it and 13 years before it was released. In between, she published three books, won an Emmy Award and did a PhD in the topic of wonder. A.J. said the idea for Hive came to her while she was on the Graham Farmer Freeway in Perth: ‘The traffic was really slow and I noticed the drip in the tunnel and I thought, that’s weird … In what situation would a drip be a problem or a danger?’
In 2015, I was well and truly sick of my book. The History of Mischief had been lingering with me since 2006, and progress was slow. It was often left for months, only for me to return to it, tinker a bit, and then abandon it for another lengthy period of time. I needed something to keep me on track. I needed to be accountable to someone other than myself.
What happens when you conference call with four talented Western Australian writers who are equally committed to short fiction as to long? Loads! Hosted by Susan Midalia, this episode of Love to Read Local Radio will give you a wonderful insight into where the urge to write comes from – those turning points in life which compel writers to put words on the page.
I am currently reading A Notable Woman, a lifetime’s worth of ‘the romantic journals’ of Jean Lucey Pratt, edited and condensed into one hefty volume by Simon Garfield. The book was a gift given to me by my friend Andrea in the UK, who read it on a recommendation from her friend, Hilary Mantel. On the other side of the spousal bed, my husband is reading Hilary’s final instalment in the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. Another friend in the UK emailed me yesterday saying how much she was enjoying Mantel’s novel, but that it had already struck her in the face several times because she reads it at night just before sleeping.